Introduction

Indiana Jones. Just the mention of his name, for most of us in the western hemisphere, starts the trumpets playing his theme song in our heads. That name conjures up images of exciting, heroic adventures, too. Adventures where good triumphs over evil; where the uncovering of ancient artifacts, from history and legend, meet twentieth century science and technology.

I recall from the third installment, entitled Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, a plot in which Dr. Jones found himself, again, pitted against the evils of the Nazi regime. You’ll recall, if you’re familiar with this film series, that Hitler’s officers had failed to retrieve for him the Ark-of-the-Covenant in the first motion picture, and now Hitler is after the Holy Grail — the very cup of Christ. Why? He believes Christ’s cup will grant, to whomever drinks from it, eternal life.

Indiana Jones (played by Harrison Ford) is fooled into working with the Nazi’s, by a beautiful young scientist named Dr. Elsa Schneider (played by Alison Doody). In the end, it’s Dr. Jones and his father (played by Sean Connery), also a famous archaeologist, who ends up leading the Nazi’s to the chamber where the Holy Grail has been kept hidden almost two-thousand years. Upon entering this chamber they are greeted by a royal guardian (played by Robert Eddison) too old to fight, but clever enough to hide the holy cup amongst many interesting looking vessels. He looks to his young visitors and bids them choose wisely, for to do so will mean life or death.

As the climax of this plot unfolds, we see one of the Nazi representatives (played by Julian Glover) selecting foolishly and drinking from one of the many chalices of death, represented in the chamber. Then Indie gets his turn. Dr. Jones, carefully ponders the things of Christ and chooses wisely. Indiana ultimately enables himself, and his father, to drink from the cup of eternal life. A great metaphor for what you and I, and really all of humanity, are called to do every day we live. Choose to live according to the truth that brings eternal life, or dare to choose to live according to the many lies that lead to death.

In this study, called Truth or Dare, we will be examining the various chalices that mankind may choose to drink from while searching out eternal life. Most of these chalices will be full of deadly lies, but one — yes, only one — will hold the life giving truths that will lead us to abundant, eternal living.

This brings to mind the childhood game, also known as, Truth or Dare. For those of you unfamiliar with this game, I’ll take a moment to explain it to you. Children would gather and select an arbitrator. Once selected, the appointed leader would challenge each child to either tell a secret truth about themselves or act out a dare dictated to them by the arbitrator of the game. I was always amazed at how scared kids would be to tell a truth about themselves, myself included, but equally amazed at how quickly they would choose the dare, only to regret it later once they learned how diabolical the dare was. Occasionally the arbitrator was kind and dealt out easy dares to accomplish, but many more times the dares were border line criminal and down right immoral. Such too is life.

Humanity is presented with this very same dilemma, on a daily basis. The dilemma? To choose to believe, and speak, the truth of Christ to the rest of humanity or choose to know of the truth, and hide it. The problem with that is, if we don’t choose to confess the truth of Christ before mankind then Christ won’t confess He knows us, on Judgement Day, before God the Father (Matthew 10:32). True faith in Christ equals our obedience to His commands.

The third option that humanity can embrace is to partake in the dares that Satan dictates to them, then eternal death becomes mankind’s destiny. That choice dulls our spiritual senses, forcing us to look death in the face and act as if nothing is wrong; as if all is right and normal. Those that make this choice act on the lie that truth is relevant to their own wants and desires. They accept Satan’s lie that says absolute truth is really the biggest falsehood of the ages. The one really big problem with that — you can’t make the truth go away, and escape it’s consequences, by simply choosing to not believe in it.

You see, just like the Nazi from The Last Crusade believed he chose correctly, so too do many of us choose daring lifestyles, philosophies, and theologies. We whole heartedly believe that we have chosen correctly, only finding out after the fact that we have chosen “poorly,” as the knight from the movie stated, and then death takes us away. It’s imperative that we take the time to study what really is the truth. We must do as Indiana Jones did, and ponder the truth of Christ, and make the wise choice. The choice that will lead us to living an abundant and eternal life. The type of life we, as God’s creation, were meant to enjoy; the life of a true worshiper.

So I ask you to join me in examining the various chalices of our lives. Such vessels as life styles, religion, philosophy, and science (to name a few). Looking them over, one-by-one, and allowing the truth that is the real cup of Christ to illuminate our minds, bodies, and souls. In the end, I trust you will have chosen to drink from the grail that leads to eternal life — the true, holy cup of Jesus Christ.

Truth or Dare by J. Scott Harden is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.
Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available at http://www.jasonmin.wordpress.com.

Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION ®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Publishing House. All rights reserved.

The “NIV” and “New International Version” trademarks are registered in the United States Patent and Trademark Office by International Bible Society. Use of either trademark requires the permission of International Bible Society.

Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade TM © 1989, 2008 LUCASFILM LTD. All rights reserved.

If your church or organization would like to talk with J. Scott Harden about a speaking engagement, or a writing project, please get in touch with Mr. Harden through Jason MinistriesTwitter account or Facebook page.

Article I

Contemporary Christian music (a.k.a. CCM), which stems from the Jesus Movement of the late 1960s, has introduced many talented performers/singers over its 40+ year history. And like any of the other industry genres, there are only a few artists whose music has stood the test of time. Carman is one of those artists. Though he’s now primarily seen and heard on the Trinity Broadcasting Network (a.k.a. TBN), Carman’s music is still known for its varied styles and strong Gospel message.

When he was touring, Carman (full name: Carman Domenic Licciardello) was a charismatic sight to behold. His concerts were incredible experiences; more like a rock-n-roll, Billy Graham Crusade than a church event. After each concert, hundreds of people would work their way down to the counseling area to accept Christ; often as many as 5,000 in an evening. Amazingly, admission to a Carman concert was usually free and an offering generally was taken.

Carman could fill the largest of stadiums, too, and did. In fact, Carman holds the record for the largest Christian music concert ever. It took place in Dallas, Texas, at the famed Texas Stadium (former home of the Dallas Cowboys). But more than that, if you take the mega stadium acts that played the famed landmark (Pink Floyd, U2, Madonna, The Jackson Five, Paul McCartney, Garth Brooks, Metallica, et al.) you’ll see that, as the newspapers noted, the one act that drew the highest attendance in Texas Stadium’s history was Carman, with 71,132 in attendance.

Carman’s ability to cover any style of music, from Gospel/R&B to Rock-a-Billy, from ballads to Hip-Hop, made him appealing to all walks-of-life. The name “Carman” assured listeners that his albums would take its listeners on a journey that wasn’t just an all-American cultural trip through popular musical styles, but was also a deep walk into all things theological. Take the song Yahweh, as an example. It’s from Carman’s 1983 album Sunday’s On The Way:

Verse 1:
Call thy walls salvation,
Call thy gates praised.
There’ll be no moon to light the nights,
No sun to light the days.
For God shall be thy glory,
An everlasting light.
The Lord shall reign forever,
In power and in might.

Chorus:
His name is Yahweh.
The Lord is one. (repeat)
Alpha and Omega,
Beginning and The End.
The Word, Who reigns forever.
Yahweh. Redeemer. Friend.

Verse 2:
His people shall be righteous,
They shall possess this land.
The branches of His plantings,
And the works of His hands.
For from a small beginning,
A mighty nation grows.
And in the fullness of His time,
The whole wide world will know (repeat chorus).

There, in simple melody, is a lyric so full of the truth of who our Creator is — Yahweh! Hear this song and you’ll have these words embedded in your mind. Meditate on them and you’ll grow in this lyric’s basic truth; Yahweh, is everything humanity needs and so much more. Let’s look deeper into the meaning of the name “Yahweh,” one of the three primary names of God (Elohim/Deity).

First, before we can understand the names of God, we must understand the nature of Hebrew names. Hebrew names are not meant to be just formal titles used to identify one person from another, as they are in our western culture. No, they are actually sentences within themselves. It’s very similar, in fact, to how Native-Americans named their children. You know, names like “Crazy Horse,” “Sitting Bull,” “Black Hawk,” etc. which weren’t exactly complete sentences, like the Hebrew names were, but descriptions of the individual’s perceived character traits. Our Creator’s name, Yahweh, is a full sentence and it’s the shortest sentence in any language. So, what is this short sentence? What does the name “Yahweh” mean, in English? The answer is, stated simply — “I AM.”

Let’s look back into the Old Testament book of Exodus when the Almighty first declared His name to be Yahweh — I AM. In Exodus chapter 3, Moses is seen on the mountain of God talking to the angel of the Lord, who is speaking from a bush that appears to be burning, but it’s not being consumed. It’s here that God tells Moses that He has chosen him to return to Egypt and command Pharaoh to let the Israelites go free. To which Moses immediately begins his argument with God that he can’t go for various reasons, one of which is Moses doesn’t know God’s name. We pick up in verse 13-14:

Moses said to God, “Suppose I go to the Israelites and say to them, ‘The God of your fathers has sent me to you,’ and they ask me, ‘What is His Name?’ Then what shall I tell them?” God said to Moses, “I AM Who I AM [Ehyeh-Asher-Ehyeh]. This is what you are to say to the Israelites: ‘I AM [Yahweh] has sent me to you.’”

Many scholars believe that Yahweh, actually spelled YHWH in the Hebrew language, is the third person singular form of the ancient Hebrew verb “haya,” which means in English “to be.” The basic driving force of this verb describes a state of existence. As the third person form of haya, the name “Yahweh” literally means “He [God] is,” or “He [Elohim] exists.” It’s a description of who God Almighty, is. He is “The Self-Existing One.” Ponder that thought for a moment (selah/pause). He is “The Self-Existing One.” How’s that for a name!? God is “The Self-Existing One.” It blows the mind a bit, doesn’t it? God reveals to us in His name, the name “Yahweh,” that He always has been and always will be. God (Elohim/Deity) was not created or birthed, but exists. Allow me to reiterate this truth — God (Elohim) has always existed, and will always exist. Truly awesome!

Every name of God revealed to the Hebrews, as you will see throughout this study, was to reveal some portion of Himself and His nature to mankind. And in doing so, our Lord, Yahweh, calls us to be in awe of Him, of Who He is — to worship Him.

If you will recall from our study on worship, known as The Joshua Project, we learned that God has laid out a formula for calling His own into worshiping Him. The formula is simply this: if we will come to know the attributes of God, and also acknowledge those attributes in our lives, then God will produce the actions in us that equal true worship.

(Knowing the attributes of God + acknowledging and applying the attributes of God in us = true worship)

The same becomes true of knowing and understanding the meaning of God’s various other names. God (Elohim) is the Lord, Yahweh — “I AM.” The Self-Existing One. This name of God describes who He is, and discovering who the Almighty is will call us — even move us — to worship Him!

(Knowing God’s names + learning and understanding the meanings of God’s names = true worship)

When God revealed His name to mankind, it was not merely so we could know what to call Him (i.e. give Him a formal title), but it was to reveal to us all something about Himself, His nature, and His attributes and thus call His creation to worship Him, The Self-Existing One.

Once more, everybody — selah!

His Name Is . . . by J. Scott Harden is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.
Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available at https://jasonmin.wordpress.com/.

Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION ®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Publishing House. All rights reserved.

The “NIV” and “New International Version” trademarks are registered in the United States Patent and Trademark Office by International Bible Society. Use of either trademark requires the permission of International Bible Society.

Yahweh lyrics by Gloria Gaither and music written by Carman. Copyright © 1983 CBS Inc.

If you want to use these lyrics, please contact the authors, artists or labs.

If your church or organization would like to talk with J. Scott Harden about a speaking engagement, or a writing project, please get in touch with Mr. Harden through Jason MinistriesTwitter account or Facebook page.